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Life, Writing

Here’s To You

February 17, 2016

Whiskey burns the back of my throat, as a tear threatens to sting my eye,

How has it been two years already, since your premature goodbye,

The wounds form scars, the marks you left on our lives,

So we’ll raise a glass as we remember you tonight.


People worry about leaving a legacy, but you’ll never be forgotten,

You’ll live on through hundreds of stories, everyone who knew you has got one,

Truly, no one has a bad word to say and they speak about you with a smile that reaches their eyes,

And there a little bits of you in all of us; you’re our family tie.


You had a great life, and should be proud of what you did,

A wonderful 52 year marriage, loving kids and grand kids,

So if death is nothing at all, maybe we’ll met again some day,

We can sit around and talk for hours, laugh whatever comes next away.


Here’s to you for teaching us that family is strong,

Here’s to you for showing us that love isn’t always perfect, but it’s ours,

Here’s to you for teaching us to unapologetically be who we are,

Here’s to you for breaking all of our hearts.


I can’t believe that last Thursday marked two years since my Grandad died. It simultaneously feels like forever and no time at all.


Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2015 + useful resources

October 30, 2015

Things you need for a successful NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again; NaNoWriMo is almost here!

In case you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo before, it stands for National Novel Writing Month – though it really is quite the international affair now. Every November, writers from across the globe all pledge to try and complete the first draft of a story by writing 50,000 words.

That might seem like a lot of words, and it is, but it’s not if you can break it down and keep on top of your daily word count.

This will be my fourth year taking part in NaNoWriMo, and for the first time I am going into this pretty prepared.

My preparation for NaNoWriMo began back at the end of July when I was in Sweden. I was struck by a story and had to race out to get a notepad to begin plotting it all down. Since then, I’ve been developing my characters, and letting the plot ruminate in my head.

I’m really excited to start, and I’m hopeful that I’ll manage to stay on top of my word goal. Last year, I think I finished with a couple of days to spare, but this year with university, work, and blogging, it’s going to be a tight fit. I’m just going to have to manage my time well.

Want to take part? There’s still time. Head over to the NaNoWriMo website for more information and to sign up.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, here is a quick list (I go into more detail in the links below) about the things I’ve found vital for completing NaNoWriMo

  • Somewhere to make notes – whether that’s your phone, your laptop, or a notebook. Ideas can strike you at the weirdest times (usually while I’m driving) so have something handy to get the idea down before it runs off.
  • A playlist – music that inspires you, and that you can write to.
  • Plentiful food and drink is necessary for those long stints.
  • Stickers! I have found stickers to be invaluable. I reward myself with a sticker whenever I reach my daily word goal, and it’s amazing what you will do for a sticker at 23 years old.
  • A NaNoWriMo account – I wouldn’t have completed it once if I hadn’t got a NaNoWriMo account, purely because it allows me to update my word count and see graphics and statistics about how I’m doing.
  • Something fun to read – sometimes you just need a break from writing, and maybe a little inspiration, so I like to re-read one of my favourite books.

Last year, I put together a couple of blog posts about NaNoWriMo that go into more detail about the above, throw in a few more ideas, and a couple of links to some really useful documents and forums.

Want to be writing buddies? Here’s my NaNoWriMo profile.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? Have you got any tips to share?


Society should teach girls not to worry about their appearance, not schoolboys

March 20, 2015

 Huffington Post screenshot

Some of you may have seen comments made by a child expert in the Telegraph on Wednesday who said that boys should tell girls about their idea of a perfect woman to try and combat girls concerns about their appearance. 

As you might expect this annoyed a few people, myself included. I did what I always do when I get frustrated; I wrote it all down. Then by some miracle the Huffington Post UK let me put it on their blog. 

You can read my piece here: Society Should Teach Girls Not to Worry About Their Appearance, Not Boys 

What do you think about it? 



NaNoWriMo, Writing

Completing NaNoWriMo: the view from the top

November 30, 2014
NaNoWriMo 2014 winner banner

I’ve done it! I’ve reached the summit of the 50,000 word mountain. 

Last night I hit 50,000 words and boy is the view good from up here. 

As I’ve mentioned in pretty much every blog post about NaNoWriMo, I’ve found it quite difficult this year. Last year it was really easy and breezed through but this year I’ve had to wrestle with my story. Which left me feeling like giving up so many times but I ignored the voice and did it! 

My novel is a bit all over the place and during December I’m hoping I can complete it and get it in some kind of decent order so I can begin editing it. 

Of course no completion of NaNoWriMo is without it’s reward, so keep an eye out for a few more beauty product posts. 

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you? If you’re not there yet: keep going, you can do it! 
NaNoWriMo, Writing

NaNoWriMo week 1 update + staying motivated

November 9, 2014

Phew, that’s week one of NaNoWriMo out of the way. 

During week one, I reached or beat my target every day but one. On Tuesday I didn’t manage to get any writing done because I just didn’t have time but thankfully my strong weekend carried me through that. 

I’m currently at 15,112 words and I’m actually finding it a bit harder this year in comparison to last year. I think I need to do a bit more plotting to spur me on here. 

Week two is up next and many people say that’s the hardest week, so here are a few tips to keep you motivated.

  • Stickers; if you aren’t already using stickers, start. It’s nice being able to put a sticker on your calendar after reaching your goal.
  • Reward yourself; promise yourself you will get a reward if you reach 50,000. It doesn’t have to be something huge or expensive, but something that will keep you going.
  • Ignore your doubts; push aside any doubts you have and ignore that voice in your head because you’ll feel so good when you reach 50,000 and you’ll be so happy you ignored your doubts. 

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you? Share any tips you have below. 
NaNoWriMo, Writing

8 helpful resources and guides for NaNoWriMo!

October 31, 2014
NaNoWriMo 2014 participant banner

NaNoWriMo is go tomorrow so I’ve put together a list of resources, guides and blog posts that I’ve found really useful in the past and this year.

It’s not too late to start planning and you can plan as you go along. November is for writing your rough draft, not creating something perfect. Grab a cup of coffee / tea / hot chocolate and sit down and go through this list. 

  • Character development templates – that forum has a link to some great worksheets that will help you create believable characters. 
  • Plot generator – if you’re stuck, this can be really fun and can spark your creativity. 
  • Place name generator – particularly good if you’re writing a fantasy novel
  • NaNoWriMo forums – this is perhaps the best resource here. There are forums for spurring you on, writing tips, plot tips, character tips and my favourite forum is the Reference Desk.
  • NaNoWriMo Home Region – find people in your area taking part and attend group write-ins and other fun events 
  • How to write 10,000 words in one day on Notebook Sisters 
  • Plotting sheet – I found this through the NaNoWriMo forums and it looks like a good way to create a detailed plan of your novel. 
  • Shameless plug time! Last week I posted a video on 10 things you need for a successful NaNoWriMo! I’ll just leave it here for you. 

Make sure you read the emails you get from NaNoWriMo, especially the pep talks from authors because they’re a fun way to keep your inspiration up. 

If you have any tips to add, share away in the comments. 
NaNoWriMo, Writing

10 things you need for a successful NaNoWriMo

October 23, 2014
10 things for a successful NaNoWriMo

November is almost here and in a few days time the clocks will strike midnight and the challenge will be on to write 50,000 words before November 30th. 

In case you didn’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. 
Throughout the month of November people the world over begin a novel and sweat caffeine at their keyboards to try and write 50,000 words in 30 days.

I took part last year and completed it. I still haven’t finished that story but that isn’t going to stop me taking part this year. 

Here’s what you need for a successful NaNoWriMo:
  • A laptop / computer 
  • Coffee or a caffeinated beverage of your choosing
  • Music you can write to. My go-to choice is always LIGHTS.
  • A notepad and pen / phone – in case an idea strikes you when you’re out 
  • About an hour – two hours a day, depending on how fast you can type
  • Creativity 
  • Shiny stickers to reward yourself with – yes stickers still work after you’ve left school. Last year I went for glittery dinosaur stickers, they worked perfectly. 
  • A rough plan – check out the NaNoWriMo Prep forum for some great advice 
  • Determination
  • More coffee
Of course, there’s more detail in the video but the list above is fairly self-explanatory. In the video I also talk about a couple things that I found really useful but I don’t think are vital for succeeding at NaNoWriMo. 

If this is your first year, make sure you visit to sign up. 
    Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, share your tips below! 
    Barcelona, Circuit de Catalunya, Photography, Spain, Writing

    Circuit de Catalunya track walk | photos

    June 8, 2014

    During my trip to the Spanish Grand Prix, I had a wander around the track one evening after I’d got all of my writing out of the way. 

    While wandering around the Circuit de Catalunya I realised that some of the camera angles from the TV coverage are very deceptive. For example, you don’t see how steep turn 2 going into turn 3 is on TV.

    Over the weekend I discovered that there’s a thing call ‘Run This Track’ where drivers, team members and the media can run the track and if you log a time they give money to charity. It sounds like a fun, but daunting, thing to do so I’m in training now to run Silverstone in a few weeks time.

    Oops…this was where Pastor Maldonado crashed into the wall.